ALERT: Congress to vote tomorrow on bill to protect doctors from participating in abortion
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The House of Representatives will vote on a top pro-life legislative priority tomorrow, when it is likely to pass a bill designed to keep people in the healing professions from being compelled to take part in abortions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the House will vote tomorrow on the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (S. 304),which was introduced in the Senate by John Thune, R-SD, and supported in the House by Reps. John Fleming of Louisiana and Diane Black of Tennessee.
The bill would codify the Weldon Amendment, barring the government from discriminating against any health care provider who refuses to “perform, refer for, pay for, or otherwise participate in abortion,” including providing insurance coverage. It also allows victims of discrimination to sue the government in civil court.
The bill comes to the House floor shortly after the Obama administration ruled against two Catholic universities in California that objected to a state law requiring them to offer abortion coverage in their health insurance plans. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights declared that Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University had no case because the Weldon Amendment only protects insurance companies that object to funding abortions, not those who pay the premiums.
“Since HHS has dragged its feet and is now ignoring federal law, CPA is necessary to enable victims of government discrimination for their pro-life stance to pursue legal action against the state for violating their consciences,” said David Christensen, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council.
Congresswoman Black said she knew the bill was necessary after meeting Cathy Cenzon-Decarlo, a New York nurse who says her hospital forced to participate in the abortion of a 22-week-old baby. Failing to respect conscience violates the nation's most fundamental beliefs, Rep. Black said.
“President Thomas Jefferson famously said, 'No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority,'” Black wrote in a recent op-ed for The Washington Examiner. “If we do not have a right to live according to our conscience and the dictates of our most deeply held beliefs, particularly on a matter as deeply affecting as abortion, we don't have much left.”
The bill has the strong support of the nation's right to life groups, who are urging voters to lobby their representatives ahead of tomorrow's vote.
“Nobody should be forced to participate in the brutal act of killing an unborn child,” wrote National Right to Life President Carol Tobias in a letter to members of Congress last month. “Please support the Conscience Protection Act.”
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